CU Fires Head Football Coach Karl Dorrell

Colorado v ASU

Colorado Buffaloes head coach Karl Dorrell walks on the sideline during the second half of the Buffs game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on September 25, 2021. (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

The Karl Dorrell era is over in Boulder.

Sunday, University of Colorado athletic director Rick George dismissed Dorrell as the Buffs head football coach. Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson is also gone.

Dorrell's tenure ends five games into the 2022 season in which the Buffs are 0-5 and have lost by an average of 29.8 points per game.

In his time as Buffs head coach, Dorrell's teams went 8-15 overall since he took over in 2020. The Buffs, however, have lost 15 of their last 19 games.

CU offensive coordinator Mike Sanford has been named interim head coach for the remainder of the season.


George, CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano and Interim Head Coach Sanford spoke with reporters on Sunday night, October 2.


Defensive Coordinator Wilson Also Will Not Be Retained

 BOULDER — University of Colorado Athletic Director Rick George announced Sunday that the school will be parting ways with Head Coach Karl Dorrell after nearly two-and-a-half seasons.

     Under Dorrell, the Buffaloes were 8-15 in two-plus seasons at the school (6-9 record in Pac-12 Conference play), but after a 4-0 start in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, CU has lost 15 of its last 19 games, including a 43-20 setback at Arizona on Saturday night. The loss dropped CU to 0-5 on the season, only the fourth time the Buffs have dropped the first five games in any single year. 

  “I want to thank Karl for his hard work in leading our program since 2020,” said George. “Ultimately, however, the results on the field just did not measure up to our expectations and standards, which made it necessary for us to make this change at this time. It was an extremely difficult decision and I wish Karl all of the best in his future endeavors.” 

  Dorrell departs having completed over half of a five-year contract, and will receive an approximate buyout of $8.7 million. Per the terms of the contract, Dorrell will be paid in installments and the total buyout would be mitigated by the salary of his next position. Funds for the buyout will come exclusively from the athletic department budget and will be completely separate from tuition money, taxpayer dollars, student fees, or the campus general fund. 

  “I fully support Rick in making this difficult decision to dismiss Coach Dorrell,” said Chancellor Philip DiStefano. “The football team is an important part of the university and I know our students, alumni, and fans have high expectations for a winning product on the field. I thank Coach Dorrell for his dedication to CU Boulder and his unwavering commitment to our student-athletes.” 

  Mike Sanford, who is in his first year as CU’s offensive coordinator, has been named interim head coach for the remainder of the 2022 season. A 17-year veteran of the coaching profession, Sanford previously served as a head coach for Western Kentucky in 2017 and 2018.  

    He is the fourth interim coach in CU’s 133-year football history; Mike Hankwitz (2005 Champs Sports Bowl), Brian Cabral (the last three games of the 2010 season) and Kurt Roper (2018 season finale at California) previously were anointed as interims.

  In addition, defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach Chris Wilson has also been dismissed; he was in his second stint on the Colorado staff and had been promoted to the position ahead of the 2021 campaign. 

  Sanford accepted the interim role and named defensive line coach Gerald Chatman as the team’s defensive coordinator and passing game coordinator and tight ends coach Clay Patterson as offensive coordinator.

  George has indicated the national search for a new head coach will begin immediately but no updates on the search process will be provided until a new coach is named.  

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content